One of great things about the yesteryear of movies was the ballyhoo. It would start with outlandish claims about their productions (that I don’t think anybody actually believed…or did they?) and continue through until the film was unleashed. One of the great things that was part of that was promotional items. It might be something as simple as issuing official barf bags to the patrons when they came in since the movie would most likely upset their stomachs! They issued cheap wedding rings to people that came to see Brides of Blood at the drive-ins. Or any number of things if you were going to see a William Castle film, from ghost viewers to punishment polls, it was all part of the fun and making the movie going experience even more fun and memorable. These were just for the theaters and drive-ins either, but when the VHS market hit, video companies were continuing this trend, with box cutters to promote the film Blood Cult, a shovel shaped pen and notepad for Burial Ground, and so much more. Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Or at least I thought.
Some companies are working hard to keep that spirit alive and one of them is Severin Films. Lately, they have been knocking it out of the park and taking promo items to a new level. When they released The Changeling (1980), one of the best ghost stories ever committed to film, they put out a replica of the little rubber ball from the movie, which was used during one of the creepiest parts of the film. When they release The Horror of Party Beach (1964), they put out an inflatable beach ball, of course! Nothing over the top, but just cool little promo items. It is these little items like this that just add another little nice touch to the already incredible job they are doing by putting out a spectacular edition of the movies on Blu-ray!
I’ve been a huge fan of the horror films made in the Philippines, especially the Blood Island films. So I was thrilled when I first heard mention that Severin was going to be releasing these films on Blu-ray. Even more so when I saw the kind of promo stuff they are making available. Granted, the limited edition Dr. Lorca’s Head Bundle is already sold out (Also note…that’s not Dr. Lorca’s Head…just saying), which was a major bummer. But the stuff in the Blood Oath Bundle is pretty damn cool too. Got to give Severin major props for the stuff they come up with. From the Anthropophagus Plush figure, or the beach ball from The Horror of Party Beach, to even the little rubber ball from The Changeling, they are killing it when it comes to new promo items.
So what is in this box set?
The Twilight People (1972)
Directed by Eddie Romero
Starring John Ashley, Pat Woodell, Jan Merlin, Charles Macaulay, Pam Grier, Ken Metcalfe, Tony Gosalvez, Kim Ramos, Mona Morena, Eddie Garcia,
If you’re a fan of Filipino cinema, then you really don’t need to read any further other than to know that this movie came from Eddie Romero and John Ashley. Those two names alone would get any fan of the Blood Island movies to sit down with this one with open arms. If you’re not familiar with the plethora of titles to come from this little Southeast Asian country, and are a fan of cult cinema, then you now have a chance to experience a whole new sense of wonder when you take a cinematic journey there.
Trying to find any information on this actor from the Philippines is damn difficult. But since his face was a staple of movies in the ’60s and ’70s that were filmed there, I thought a little attention needed to put in his direction. If you’ve seen any of the famous Blood Island Trilogy, Brides of Blood (1968), Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968), and Beast of Blood (1971), then you’ve seen Punzalan. He is usually cast as a bad guy, usually a thug of whoever is in charge. He had a very distinct face that always made him easy to pic out in the casts. He worked many times with director Eddie Romero, as well as with actors Sid Haig and Vic Diaz (another staple of Pilipino movies).
While not much is known about this actor, we feel that because of his contributions to the horror genre, we think that people should at least know who he is. So when they see that same face again, they can say “Hey…that’s Bruno Punzalan!”, impressing everyone around them. Not to mention, keeping this actor’s memory alive.
He also appeared with Ingrid Pitt in The Omegans (1968), as well as Blood Thirst (1971), Black Mama, White Mama (1973), and Savage Sisters (1973).
Directed by Eddie Romero & Gerardo DeLeon
Starring John Ashley, Kent Taylor, Beverly Hills (Beverly Powers), Eva Darren, Mario Montenegro
When thinking of a country churning out films, one doesn’t usually think of the Philippines. But they had been making movies there since the beginning of cinema itself. In the ’30s, there were five major studios running there. And of course, making horror films was something they dabbled in, just like here in the states.